Totnes Castle

School Visits

Cover a range of curriculum objectives with a visit to Totnes Castle. Originally a Norman motte and bailey castle, a shell keep and curtain wall were added later. Now, the site offers an opportunity to learn more about medieval life and how and why castles were built and defended. 

Curriculum links

Support your teaching in the classroom by stepping out of it. A visit to Totnes Castle will help you bring learning to life, covering multiple topics across the key stages.

  • KS1 History: Significant historical events, people and places in the locality
  • KS2 History:  A local history study. A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • KS3 History: Development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509

Free Self-Led Visits

Book a free self-led visit to Totnes Castle and organise your day to suit your curriculum objectives. Climb the steps to the castle keep to understand its context in the landscape, with views across the Saxon town of Totnes and the River Dart. Explore the shell keep, built to replace an earlier motte and bailey castle, and see if you can spot the defensive arrow slits and battlements. Walk around the outside wall of the castle to see the steep sided ditch and bank which were part of the original castle defences, enjoy a picnic lunch in the bailey and look out for the graffiti carved on the tree by prisoners during the Second World War.

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Plan your visit

We have a wide range of materials to support your visit and make school trip planning easy. You can find all our site-specific information and tools below, and further information on our what to expect page.

Download our free resources to help you make the most out of your visit and create unique learning experiences before, during and after your trip. We also offer free planning visits once you have made a booking, plus a 20% discount on the official English Heritage guidebook for your place of choice.

Once you book your visit you’ll be sent a visit permit, which you’ll need to bring with you on the day.

Visit our bookings page to start planning your trip!

  • Facilities
    • CASTLE: The Keep and Moat walk are open with a one-system in operation; we ask that you split into small groups to access the Keep. Narrow stairways require careful negotiation to maintain social distancing.
    • PARKING: There is no car or coach parking on the site. Parking is available in the town centre car parks – charges apply.
    • TOILETS: There are no toilets on site. The nearest public facilities are in the Market Square (off Totnes High Street).
    • FOOD AND DRINK: You are welcome to bring a picnic. There are a few picnic tables with benches in the Bailey, sheltered by mature trees.
    • SHOP: The shop sells a range of English Heritage gifts and souvenirs. Please bring your students in supervised small groups.
  • Hazard Information

    A useful tool to help with your risk assessments. 


    You must meet the following ratios for leaders to students on the day of your visit when booking, and if your group is forming smaller groups while at the site:

    • Ages 4-5 (UK Reception) 1 leader for every 4 students (1:4)
    • Ages 5-7 (UK Key Stage 1) 1 leader for every 6 students (1:6)
    • Ages 7-11 (UK Key Stage 2) 1 leader for every 10 students (1:10) and
    • Ages 11-18 (UK Key Stages 3, 4, and 5) 1 leader for every 15 students (1:15)
    • For an adult learning group, consisting of individuals all over the age of 18, there are no ratios but there must be an appointed group leader
    • All ratios outlined above apply to home education groups
    • If your group consists of children aged 3 and/or 4, you must also refer to the Early Years and Foundation Stage Statutory Framework which sets out specific legal requirements for minimum ratios for this age group, to include requirements about the qualifications of the leaders
    • SEND groups must meet the minimum ratios above but may bring any additional leaders as required to adequately support their group
  • Education Site Opening Times

    We offer free self-led education visits during school term time*

    *Free education visits are not offered on UK public holidays or during the operation of additional fee paying public events at English Heritage sites.

    • April-October: Monday-Sunday 10-5pm
    • November-March: Saturday-Sunday 10-4pm

Learning Resources

  • Teaching Anglo-Saxons and Normans

    Use historical information, learning activities and tips from our historians, curators and educational experts to support your teaching of the Anglo-Saxons and Normans.

  • A Brief History of the Normans

    Learn more about the origins of the Normans, the dispute between Harold Godwinson and William the Conqueror and how the Normans took control of England in this short animation.

  • Teaching Medieval History

    Use historical information, learning activities and tips from our historians, curators and educational experts to support your teaching of medieval history.

  • A Mini Guide to Castles

    ​Discover how castles developed over time with this short introduction.